All the Bangladeshi expatriates living in different countries of the world will get the Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) with the November-24 deadline, said Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Engineer Khandker Mosharraf Hossain on Thursday. “Some 91 lakh Bangladeshis are now staying in 160 countries. Of them, 60 lakh have already got the MRPs. The government will also issue MRPs to the remaining 30-34 lakh within November,” he said. The minister was talking to reporters after a meeting of Advisory Committee on Issuance of the MRP at Probashi Kalyan Bhaban in the capital.
Chaired by Khandker Mosharraf, the meeting was attended, among others, by Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzaman Khan and senior officials from Prime Minister’s Office and other concerned ministries. Mosharraf, however, said there are some challenges to issue MRPs to Bangladeshis staying in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Malaysia, the key labour markets for Bangladesh. The government has decided to enhance the capacities of Bangladeshi missions in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Malaysia and appoint outsourcing companies to smoothly issue MRPs in those countries.
Replying to a question, Mosharraf said the Bangladesh mission in Saudi Arabia would provide 5,000 MRPs a day from March 25. The minister said the normal process would be followed in other countries in issuing MRPs. The manual passport holders will not be allowed to travel to any country after the deadline of November 24, set by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), making MRPs mandatory for all nationalities across the world.
About the two Bangladeshi workers abducted in Libya, the minister said the government was closely observing the situation in Libya. “If necessary, all the Bangladeshis will be brought back from Libya.” He advised the Bangladeshis in Libya to move cautiously and not leave their workplaces unless it was absolutely essential. Over 50,000 Bangladeshis are working in Libya, he said. On March 6, two Bangladeshis along with sever other expatriate workers were abducted by unidentified gunmen from the Al-Ghani Oil Field in central Libya.